Ahh, relief; and DuQuette

I got a brace for my wrist, and it says on the box that I can type with it on, which is a partial truth. There’s still occasionally twinges when I reach for the t or the g, and q and shift are a bit scary, but I’ll live. Beats hunting and pecking, to which I was reduced these last two days.

Anyway, Sunday I went to see Lon Milo DuQuette speak in Des Plaines (Des Plaines is a suburb of Chicago, and much to the pain of those of us who know some French, it’s pronounced “dez plainez”). DuQuette spoke on the Qabalah, the Goetia, and Enochian. I found it stimulating and interesting, especially the talk on the Goetia.

I’ve always, as you know if you read my books, felt that browbeating spirits is bad form. But DuQuette regards it as a bit of a sine qua non. So I asked him about it, and he explained that the Goetic demons, at least, are creatures of nefesh (the animal soul) and so you need to “handshake” with them at first with the strong emotions of the nefesh before rising up and using the ruakh (the intellect) to communicate with them. This progression, he explained, also emulates the progression from their “fallen” state to their redeemed status. I found a lot to think about in his discussion. I’m not sure that anger and blame are necessarily the only ways to accomplish that nefesh connection, but I see his point.

He also said something that got me thinking a lot. He said when you evoke a goetic demon for, say, love, you’re saying “I’m not the kind of person love happens to. Make me that kind of person.” So, he says, you’re evoking an adventure designed to turn you into a different kind of person, one to whom love happens. It’s an interesting, if rather potentially solipsistic, idea.

We were rushed for the Enochian lecture because all the toilets in the building backed up (Chicago plumbing, oi). We did a group Enochian working; I hate working in groups of strangers. For me, magic is something a bit more intimate than sex. So mostly I sat there with a faint embarrassed stomach ache while everyone else chanted; I hope no one noticed that I was a party-pooper. My friend Eric who went with me got rather into the whole thing, though.

I think DuQuette’s forthcoming book on Enochian might be a worthy purchase. I intend to pick it up when I see it.

2 Responses to “Ahh, relief; and DuQuette”

  1. I’ve searched through the Goetia from bow to stearn, and there’s no mention of them wanting to be “redeemed” that I found. I couldn’t remember where I’d picked up the notion that they would be raised as I was, or would fall as I did in the conjuration, but it must have been from Lon.

    I’m of a decidedly different opinion than Lon on this subject. They aren’t nephesh, imo, so much as they are spirits of the earth-water realm, closer to the material than the angels or archangels, but still in service to God.

    Of course, I believe in spirts as real spirits, not just manifestations of a higher self.

  2. In Tuvan shamanism, you traditionally offer the spirits something first, tobacco, food, liquor, etc. Well, let me change that, I know of the practice, but Tuvan shamanism is pretty individualistic. But most of the stuff I’ve seen supports it. So you sort of go “oh come on out of that person, we’ll have some food, a smoke, a drink, it’ll be fun! Then you can go home where you belong.” Only then do you start opening up the spiritual whoopass, if it fails.

    IMO browbeating comes right out of Judeo-Christian theology, Yahweh is the king, you’re all his servants/subjects whether you like it or not, so snap to it! Not that it has to be that way of course, I’m just saying, starting out with that king understanding, you can very quickly and easily degenerate into authoritarianism. As a completely random side note, I found the best explanation of difficulty in summoning/dealing with spirits from, where else?, shamanism, Chukchi this time I think. They say that the reason you do shamanism in the dark, usually at night, is because the spirits are like wild animals. So basically they take off easily, sort of frighten, but not really. I’ll bet if you pursued some other natural metaphors, you’d be able to explain a lot about why spells work or don’t work, and so on. But yeah, spirits are like wild animals. Seems sort of simpler than a lot of other explanations I’ve heard.

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